22″ bike: could you lose a couple inches?

14 04 2010

Maybe Al Pacino’s character said it best On Any Sunday: “Life is a game of inches“.

This quote keeps coming to mind when I think about FACTION‘s 22 inch wheel bike.

It’s definitely an interesting concept. A sized up BMX bike, bigger than a standard 20 inch, smaller than a 24 inch cruiser.

Is it the future?

Hard to say…but my guess is probably not.

Is 22" the new black? Faction Zeitgeist bike

Some big-name riders have been quoted lending support to the concept. Guys like Eddie Fiola and Mat Hoffman have said they think it’s a cool, progressive concept. However, it’s interesting to note that Hoffman, despite owning a bike company, has never produced a 22 inch bike himself.

Does it make sense to come out with a new “standard” when there’s currently so much choice in 20 and 24 inch bikes? What happens if you break the forks or wreck a wheel? Seems like it would be a pain to get replacements.

What do you think?

Is a 22″ wheel  the answer for bigger guys?  Is it a good compromise between the 20 and 24 worlds? Can the BMX industry support a new wheel size?




28 responses

14 04 2010
Jon Faure

I rode Eddie Fiola’s while I was at the Old School Reunion. Other than his bars were really small, the back end was to long and needed several other geometry changes, I liked it. It had that feel of more stability. I felt like it could be a bike that I would enjoy riding. But, there was too much that I didn’t like about it. I think the geometry needs a lot of work. I hated the tires. Most of the parts I could change to my liking but where in the heck could I find different tires?

24 04 2010
Ian Smith

Hi Jon,
Did you find it a bigger feel than your model-c?
The reason I ask is that I’m 6’2″ and the faction, despite being a 22″ I think has a bigger cockpit size than the model-c.

24 04 2010
Jon Faure

It’s hard to say. It felt weird because Eddie’s bars were so small! I think if faction keeps working on the geometry, it could become a great bike but I don’t think it’s quite there yet. I would go with Sunday’s longer Model C frame (21.75″) and maybe get some standard 8″ bars for it if you want it to feel bigger.

24 04 2010
Ian Smith

Thanks for the reply Jon.
Would the extra 0.5′ make that much difference.
At the mo I’m doing the MTBMX thing with a DMR transition 24″ – with the BMX geo I think 21.25 might be OK and 21.75 too large even for me.
My TT on the DMR is 21.8 but the slope is much more significant than on the Sunday model-c so with the change in a more upright angle on the model-c it’ll probably equate the two.
You can now buy model-c completes over here in the UK. I’ve been eyeing up the black one…a lot!

14 04 2010

Yeah, why not? Seems like it would be a smoother transition from 20″ to 24″ for younger guys. I think thats pretty cool!

14 04 2010
Jason G

20 and 24 inch bikes to me are just two different styles of bike. Cosmetically they look different just sitting next to each other and they also look different when somebody is on either one riding it. Are there at least some people out there riding a 24 because they simply like the look and style, or are they just riding it because a 20 seems too small and its the next best thing? Which in turn is where the 22 comes in?

14 04 2010

well i ride mine cuz a 20″ is too small. i have spent lots of money to make my cruiser feel mor like a 20″. but then again even 20″ bikes have changed so much over the years that i would never be able to get use to the new geometry on the 20″ bikes.

11 05 2010

to answer your question, YES, 20″s do seem too small. i’ve been riding 20″s seriously since i was 12 in ’86, and i love them. but yeah, small.

especially after i have been riding 24″ and 26″ (and not 20″ at all) for the last 4 years, 20″s now to me seem tiny. like i get on it, and it’s like good lord what was i thinking. 22″s however feel normal. they’re the new 20″ for me. i sold both my 20″ street/park bikes (a T1 Garrett and a Macneil Deuce Deuce). my Faction 22 has become my 20″ basically.

being 6’1″ with long legs, i have always felt that 20″s were small. in the beginning, there weren’t long freestyle bikes, and i rode with my bars jacked up and tilted forward. later, i rode S&M Holmes and XXL race frame. but the bars still felt too low (unless with 8″ rise, top loader stem, and several spacers)

buying a 24″ Widowmaker in 1995 was a breakthrough for me because i finally had a bike that actually felt *comfortable* both to ride and comfortable in the air. i learned to ride trails on it. but it was not a great freestyle bike for park etc. so i’ve been dreaming about 22″s since 1995.
respect to FACTION for going for it.

14 04 2010

NO, Just when 24″ tech is really taking of, By way of cost to production of the same 20″. It would be a step back for cruisers. And If it doesn’t take off, 20′ will make it, but will the same company’s put tooling and effort to get the 24″ back on track and future development. NO, it’s a bad idea if you are going to take a standard and discontinue on a fad.

15 04 2010

I’ve got a model C, a McDeuce and a 22. The C was a big step forward for cruisers but its never going to be as good for freestylin as the 22. Even in its first (not perfect) version the 22 is my favourite bike. I’ve had a lot of email discussion with the guys at Faction and their markII is going to be an awesome bike.
I am one of those people who feel oversize for a 20, and felt limited on the 24. With the new heat treated frame, lighter rims and the improved street tires I think Faction’s new bike could be one of the biggest things in BMX this year. You have to try one and especialy on a trail that scares you on your 20, then you’ll get the picture.

All the best to the guys from Faction for taking the risk to get a revolution started! LoL they’re gonna hate me saying that.

24 04 2010
Ian Smith

I’ve been doing some geometry calculations and I reckon the faction (with the right bar size) has a bigger cockpit (lengh and heighth) than the model-c, as a bigger fella of 6’2″ I reckon the faction would be a better choice, despite the smaller wheel size. Is this the case or am I way off?

11 05 2010

Ian, you are exactly right.

The key is “bb rise.” In the MTB and road bike world, they talk about bb drop, meaning where bb is compared to horizontal axle level. In BMX, bb is typically 1.75 above axle level.

The Zeitgeist has 11.5 bb. In other words only 0.5 above axle level. So add 1.25 Inches to cockpit height right off the bat. Next, a 22″ wheel is 1″ taller at the top and 1″ taller at the bottom. So add another inch to cockpit height for a total of 2.25 inches. By this reasoning, if you ran 6.75″ bars on a Zeitgeist, it would feel the same cockpit wise as a 20″. Vertical distance from bb up to horizontal line where your grips are. I personally have always felt that I was too hunched on my 20″, even when i tried to run tall bars. Therefore i put 8.25 bars on my Zeitgeist. This is equivalent to 10.25″ bars on a typical 20″. Sounds ludicrous until you consider us old schoolers–9″ rise bars were not unusual, plus top loader wedgebolt stems, stacking headsets, and often some added space. So we were effectively riding 10″ rise bars back then. This is why the Zeitgeist with 8.25 bars feels so natural to me. I feel 14 again. Not 36. hah hah !! The ratio of 8.25 bars to 22″ wheels is the same as 7.5 bars to 20″ wheels. So it looks proportional too !!!

Jim C at SUNDAY sought to replicate 1.75 above axle level on 24″ wheels. That’s why he went with 13.75″bb on the Model C. 1.75 above 12″ axle level. However, that’s also why he had to add 2 inches to the typical 5″ cruiser bar rise. HOWEVER, those of us who are tall and actually like race cruisers, some of us tended to run 6″ and maybe even 7″ rise bars. So for us, we’d have to run 8″ or 9″ bars on a Model C, which in fact I read somewhere Bart De Jong of Fatbmx.com was running 9″s on his Model C. Really doesn’t look like a cruiser anymore !!

Jim C is a short dude. He was NOT building a cruiser for tall guys.

This is why the LIQUID is the perfect median 24″. 12.75 bb is an inch taller than traditional cruisers but an inch lower than the model C. I’m running 8″ rise bars on my LIQUID and it feels amazing. Not for everyone, but a GREAT setup for a tall guy that is done with the back-breaking hunch.

15 04 2010

More choices? Heck yah! Why would anybody object to that? Different body sizes, weights, jump heights, track configurations, transition radius’, street “personalities”, riding styles… endless possibilities. Why limit your tools? Will it hurt the cruiser sector? Oh please. Are any of us gonna dump our cruisers and commit to riding a 22 exclusively or demo one and MAYBE buy one as a second ride. I think the latter. I can see alot more 20″ riders jumpin’ ship and doin’ 22″…then it’s only a matter of time until they’re on a 24″. Could be a good thing for cruisers.

16 04 2010

yeah maybe it’ll cause bike shops to start carrying more items for something other than a 20″. i don’t like having to order all my parts online. i’d rather just buy parts from a bike shop cuz they happen to have what i want.

16 04 2010

John’s comment is right about this bike with small bars. Although with big wide bars it feels soooo huge to me. Way bigger than my 21.75″ model c or FBM exodus st 21.25″

The faction jumps real nice. I still prefer my FBM exodus or FBM steadfast for jumping but I like 24″ for street. I guess if I could only have one bike I would get the next gen faction.

19 04 2010

i have known that 22″s was a solid concept ever since 1995 when i was riding a 20″ S&M Holmes and a 24″ S&M Widowmaker.

so when FACTION came out with the Zeitgeist, i immediately bought one. i appreciate companies that are willing to pursue an idea because it’s a good idea. f**k “standards” !

the setup on the Zeitgeist (slightly heavier, longish back end) reminds me a lot of late 90’s classic bikes like the Hoffman TAJ and S&M Holmes. if you ride it with full size 8″ bars, it looks and feels more like a 20″ BMX that actually fits. if you set it up with small bars, it feels more like a cruiser.


19 04 2010

as for the issue of replacement rims and tires, you can buy an extra wheelset and several pairs of extra tires at the time you buy a bike from Faction.

. . . and even if for some reason Faction went out of business–which a lot of small startups risk–it’s not like it is that hard to get rims and tires made in Taiwan. there are a lot of 22″ fans out there now (see the Facebook group) and it would only take one entrepreneur with a Taiwan connection to get some batches made. . . . and if that doesn’t happen, well hey, you’ve got a concept bike to show off. this issue did not hold me back from trying it out.

as for forks… if you bend the forks, it ain’t hard to get someone like STANDARD to custom make anything to spec. you could even get a cruiser fork and have a local welder cut the dropouts off and re-weld them slightly higher up. OR just run a cruiser fork with a 22″ wheel. it bumps the front end up only an inch.

honestly the conservatism and

19 04 2010

i was gonna say….

conservatism in BMX is strange. when i started riding, what were doing was called freestyle and it meant doing things previously not thought possible. and the thing is 22″ wheels is a very minor adjustment. over the last 30 years, BMX bikes have be improved in countless ways, stretched out longer (up to 4 inches longer) to try to fit full grown men, etc. there are already more than 6 sizes from micro mini to mini to junior to ex to pro to pro xl to xxl etc. etc. 16″ 18″ 20″ 24″ 26″ wheels… .this is not a big deal.

one correction: Mat Hoffman did build a 22″. kris gack built it for him. kris told me in an e-mail several years ago that the only problem with it was he couldn’t get decent rims made.

21 04 2010

I think if Hoffman (or another company) added a 22″ to their lineup it would help the cause a lot more. A single-source supply for all things 22″ probably scares off a lot of people that may give it a try otherwise.

14 08 2010

I have to say I agree with this completely. Especially as the guys who are running this company seem to get more loopy every day.

I really like the concept but I don’t think I would ride their bikes.
Too bas as I was really looking froward to trying one out.

22 04 2010
Marcus D

A few years ago (When Steev Inge still owned Poorboy and Mutiny), the topic of 22’s came up. Steev had just gotten back from Interbike and he and Chris Moeller had a chat about the idea (as far as my memory serves me). Steev thought the bigger than 20, smaller than 24 was a great idea, for all the obvious reasons (I think Moeller was the one who pointed that out to him). I asked him, “since you own a frame company, why don’t you try one out?” He said the rim/wheel sourcing issue was the problem. The end. I think if folks have the option, quite a few would try it, but there would have to be a LOT of wheel and tire options and they would have to be cost-comparable to 20.

My C is the tits, but is sure is hard to swing around.

27 04 2010
Sandro Diaz 2

This is the most interesting set of comments I’ve followed, sounds like 22s are the thinking BMXers bike (eg CMC). 2nd gen Faction will be worth a try, I hope they get it very very right.

27 07 2011
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[…] Brake mounts, no brake mounts, different finishes, XLT and classic styles…you name it they’ve got you covered. (There’s even a 22″ version available…if you’re into that sort of thing.) […]

7 02 2012
Wanna lose a few inches this year? « cruiser revolution

[…] 2010, I did a post called 22″ bike: could you lose a couple inches? that generated a bunch of discussion on the pros and cons of the wheel […]

7 03 2012
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[…] 22″ bike: could you lose a few inches? Share this:DiggFacebookRedditStumbleUponTwitterLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

23 10 2012

anyone remember 700d?
hopefully this doesnt turn out like that fiasco.
how many companies are currently making 22″ tires and tubes?
all too often I end up passing over my 20″ and 24″ for my 700c anyway.
tricks are for hookers.

31 12 2016
Top 4 Cruiser news stories of 2016 | cruiser revolution

[…] that being said, I’ve been posting about the 22″ phenomenon as far back as 2010 but given that Cruiser Revolution is a cruiser-focused site, I launched Big & Tall BMX in June […]

31 03 2019
A modest proposal for Odyssey – big and tall bmx

[…] fair, there was a similar view expressed in 2010 over on our brother site, Cruiser Revolution, in a 22″ themed post. At the time, only one company Faction was doing anything 22″ related in a meaningful way.  […]

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